Towards action

With “towards renewal” in our minds, we propose convening a group, made up of individuals of diverse lived and learned experience, to explore the shoreline, the ‘what if’, thinking with us not for us.

What this could look like

COVID-19 demands that we build diverse coalitions to advance effective response efforts. These efforts must draw on the radical imaginations of our artists, the moral courage of our activists, the innovation of community organizers, the agenda-setting influence of our media, the values of our civil society leaders, the infrastructure of the private sector, and the reach of our public institutions.”  Reboot, May 2020

Framed around a question – How do we build our civil society so that it is truly responsive to, reflective of and champion for people, places and communities in London?  the group would be made up of people (rather than affiliated organisations) who have a shared interest and desire to explore together and who have the capacity to engage with an open ended process that reflects the ambiguity and complexity of what we all are faced with. 

The group would bring with them a range of expertise; differing approaches and ways of thinking. Broadly half the group would be made up of lived experts who have a strong understanding of the impact on the ground and what the barriers and opportunities are to different approaches being taken. The rest of the group would be formed of technical experts able to provide a historical, social and/or political context; artists as imaginative pathfinders; implementers who can help us understand institutional processes and decision makers.

This feels like a daunting task for so many reasons – how do we enable this new grouping without falling in to previous patterns?; how do we avoid just a rehash of similar conversations that have come before/are happening elsewhere?; how do we move past talk in to action?; how do we sustain momentum for the long haul? These are all legitimate concerns and ones we have to face head on.

Through exploring a diverse range of views we believe the interconnectedness will become clear and we can get to the root of some of our challenges. It is likely that the focus will shift and change as more nuanced questions emerge. Expert facilitation will be required. Additional ‘second stage groups’ will probably develop as specific thematic issues demand more concerted attention. In all honesty it will be a messy process with some false starts and there will be other ways of doing things that we have not thought of yet but we’ll only discover that by trying.  

At the least what we are proposing will inform the creation of Wave 4 of the London Community Response fund and the purpose and direction of London Funders work for the coming years. At the most it will create an equitable space in which we can acknowledge and respond to the now whilst imagining our future.

Being open to uncertainty is not a motivational quote or a meme but an actual rigorous, and quite exhausting practice that requires holding multiple possibilities simultaneously and being able to see connections between these possibilities; and not retreating from the ache.” Anab Jain

If this is a journey you want to come on with us then do speak to James so we can think together.